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The Sycamore Family

American Sycamore

 

The sycamore is a grand, stately shade tree for a larger site. It has broad green leaves but is most recognizable by its peeling bark, with patches of white and gray. Sycamores have very high wildlife value, attracting a wide range of birds that use the tree for many purposes. 

Botanical name: Platanus occidentalis

All common names: sycamore, buttonwood, American planetree, buttonball tree

Family (English): Sycamore; planetree

Family (Botanic): Platanaceae

  • Planting Site: Residential and parks, City parkway, Wide median

  • Tree or Plant Type: Tree

  • Foliage: Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

  • Native Locale: Chicago area, Illinois, North America

  • Landscape Uses: Parkway/street, Shade tree, Specimen

  • Size Range: Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height: 75-100 feet

Mature Width: 50-70 feet

  • Light Exposure: Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

  • Hardiness Zones: Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9

  • Soil Preference: Alkaline soil, Wet soil

  • Tolerances: Wet sites, Occasional flooding, Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Road salt

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Curator's note: Both of these trees can be found on the Plaza. An old specimen had to Coppiced this season and can be found re-sprouting on the east parking lot as part of the old pond Collection.

The EXCLAMATION!™ London Planetree

A Chicagoland Grows® introduction that is resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking. It is a large tree with beautiful peeling bark.

 

Botanical name: Platanus acerifolia 'Morton Circle'

All common names: EXCLAMATION!™ London planetree

Family (English): Sycamore, planetree

Family (Botanic): Platanaceae

  • Planting Site: Residential and parks, City parkway, Wide median, Restricted sites

  • Tree or Plant Type: Tree

  • Foliage: Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

  • Native Locale: Non-native

  • Landscape Uses: Parkway/street, Shade tree, Specimen

  • Size Range: Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height: 55-65 feet

Mature Width: 40-50 feet

  • Light Exposure: Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

  • Hardiness Zones: Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8

  • Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil

  • Tolerances: Dry sites, Wet sites, Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Road salt

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